Calgary pooch headed to New York to compete in international dog show
A chow chow from Calgary named Mars, who soon turns two, could be ringing in his birthday in style.
"We will be competing against professional handlers and other top-calibre owners," Gail Forsythe told the Calgary Eyeopener in a Thursday interview.
"We have about a one-out-of-12 shot of winning best of breed."
Mars is a big, fluffy chow chow, a breed originally from northern China known for its double coat.
Forsythe says Mars seems to really enjoy the competition of showing.
"He loves it," Forsythe said.
"He can't wait to get in the car. When we are at the show, he relaxes quite a lot before it's his time in the ring. But once he's in the ring, he really enjoys meeting the judge, going around with the other dogs."
A love of the chow chow breed isn't new for Forsythe.
"I got my first chow in 1975. I saved all my pocket money and my baby bonus money to be able to import a dog. I waited two years to find the right dog and brought her in from a breeder in the U.S. because at that time there were virtually no chows in Canada available."
Fast forward to this weekend, when the 147th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show gets underway in New York City, and Forsythe says the pressure is on.
"That would be a lifetime achievement, to be able to have a high award at Westminster Kennel Club," she said.
"If we were to win … I think I would probably have legs of jelly because I would be pretty nervous. But it would be a tremendous honour to reach that achievement at this point in my life."
But what about her furry friend?
"Mars might get a really nice steak that night, but the actual, physical prize is just a ribbon. This show is definitely all about being able to show off your work of art, and I think Mars is a work of art."